Life After the Break the Sugar Habit Challenge

Photo credit: heylovedesigns

We are entering our final week of the Break the Sugar Habit Challenge… so what will our eating habits look like this time next week?

Well, to be honest, we will be on vacation with my husband’s family, and we will be eating out a lot. My girls will quite possibly scarf down every treat offered them, and my husband and I will indulge in some Marble Slab ice cream.

To anyone observing us, it will look like watching out for sugar is the last thing on our minds… but is it?

Will we go back to mindlessly grabbing something to eat, or will we take pause and consider the choices we are making?

Sugar at Home

I know for our family at home, we will definitely be taking pause. The last month has not been a deprivation, but a major eye-opener. As I mentioned last week, we discovered something I had suspected for awhile, that sugar does yucky things to Reese. As the grocery-shopper for our family, I have complete control over what is put in our cart, and I plan to continue shopping like I have this last month: fresh fruits and vegetables, with minimum processed foods. I will also be a more vigilant label-reader (I just thought I read labels before this challenge! Boy was I wrong!). I want to know what is lurking in each and everything I purchase.

I will be taking my own advice, and choosing to serve my girls easy and tasty summertime snacks over half-price shakes at the Sonic. Does that mean I won’t take them for a treat? Of course not. If they actually liked the shakes, we would probably snag one. They prefer sno-cones, and I have promised to take them a time or two before summer is over. And while we have never visited the sno-cone stand more than 5 times in any summer, the girls will know this is a treat, rather than an expectation.

My kitchen and I have become BFF’s this last month, and my children have been awesome helpers. As you know, I struggled with having kids in the kitchen, but I sucked it up and took my own advice. To my happy surprise, the girls have really grown in their skills, and it won’t be long before I can turn my oldest loose in the kitchen. Each girl has found a particular task they truly enjoy, and have been very eager to assist me whenever I don my apron.

As far as sugar and sweeteners go, I will continue cooking with them, but carefully. Refined white sugar is no longer welcome in our home, and had been replaced long before this challenge. We do have organic sugar, which will be used sparingly. Our sweeteners of choice will be honey and turbinado sugar, although I will evaluate if there is even a need for sweetener at all. We will no longer rely on the expectation that sugar is needed. I will continue to search for sugar-free alternatives. I’m not even sure how much sugar we will be able to tolerate after not having it for so long!

Sugar Away From Home

As I said at the beginning of this post, the girls will probably go a little overboard with the treats come June 30, especially with us leaving for a vacation where I am not in charge of food. Some think we have deprived our children this last month, but that just isn’t the case. Sugar is a beast that is very hard to conquer, and I don’t expect them to be completely changed in only 25 days. Add in my mishaps, and it’s even less than that! BUT (yes, that is a big “but”), their eyes have been opened to things other than sugar-laden foods and their young minds have been fixated on consciously eating better. They continually question me, but no longer ask if the food I serve them is sugar-free; they’ve simply come to expect it.

There have been questions of, “Will we be able to eat ____________ again, after this challenge?” Some things I have answered with a yes, others with a no, and always with an explanation of why (or why not).

I have always wanted my girls to think for themselves, and to not just do something because someone else thinks they should. It is my responsibility to put good choices before them at home, because once they get outside of the home, my control over their choices is more limited. For example, I am attending a workshop in July, and they have requested that all food brought in be nut-free. I totally respect that, but it limits some of the snacks I had intended to bring. The snacks they have said will be provided are pop-tarts and goldfish… not snacks I want my children consuming twice a day for three days (especially if Reese eats those pop-tarts!). I don’t want to compromise what we have done this last month OR someone else’s food restrictions (especially one that can be as serious as nuts!), so I am on a mission to find sugar- AND nut-free snack alternatives.

As far as social situations, I hit on that a bit in the Week 3 Check-in.

Knowing what I know about how sugar effects our bodies, has led me to make several permanent changes in our family’s eating habits. And while I will, for the most part, allow them treats outside of the home, I won’t make them as readily available inside the home as they were before.

A treat should be just that – a treat. Something special. An indulgence.

For the most part, girls know what has sugar and what does not. I will not deny them treats in social situations (like the ice cream after the VBS program), but those treats will come with some limitations. They know they will not be allowed to go hog-wild with sugary snacks, just because we are not at home. Personally, I don’t plan to indulge in every treat offered, just because it is available. I definitely do not want to find myself back where I was before I started this challenge. I don’t want to be a slave to anything, and I feel like I was a slave to sugar. I know what too much sugar does to our bodies, and I do not want that for myself. (Wedding cake is an exception every time to this, just so ya know. Does that make me a slave to wedding cake???)

So do where we go from here? I’m open to going as sugar/sweetener-free as possible. Will we ever be 100 percent sugar-free? It is definitely an option we will continue to pursue. I didn’t take on this challenge for it to end up being a waste of our time, or even to prove a point. I did it for our family’s health and well-being. Before this challenge, I knew our family needed to give sugar a good kick in the rear, and Mandi asking me to hop on board was the incentive I needed to put it into action. I know I feel much better physically and mentally when I am careful about my sugar intake. I know that I no longer feel sluggish mid-afternoon, even being almost 27 weeks pregnant. My headaches have been pretty much nonexistent since the fourth of June, and I attribute that to my limited sugar intake. Why would I want to go back to how I felt before, when I feel better now? For me, it would make no sense.

Many of you have commented and I have had so much encouragement throughout this month. I appreciate all of the suggestions, alternatives, and stories you have shared. Those of us taking this challenge, whether blogging about it or not, have taken different approaches. And that’s okay. As I have said many times, this is what is working for our family. You have to decide what works for your family.

It’s still not too late to join us! Friday is our last “official” sugar/sweetener-free day, but if you keep going, that’s great!

Have you successfully kicked the sugar habit? How do you maintain your sugar-free lifestyle away from home?

And if you are just now jumping on board, you can check out the other posts in this series, plus see how Mandi and her family are breaking their sugar habit.

Written by: Amy Norton
Amy is a youth pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom to three girls, ages 8, 6, and 3, and has a baby boy on the way. When she’s not writing at Kingdom First Mom, you can find her cooking, getting crunchier by the day, and trying to stay on top of the laundry. She enjoys writing about her homelife adventures at Amy Loves It.

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Comments

  1. Great job! I find that my son acts terrible after he has ate anything with Red Dye #40 and Yellow Dye #6. I try to avoid artificial sweeteners too because when I was pregnant my doctor advised me not to eat them because they had not done any long term testing on artificial sweeteners. So I figure it clearly could not be safe for my child either.
    It has been a real challange staying away from the dyes because almost every thing that is made for a kid will have those dyes in it! Some of it really makes no sense at all like why do they put red and yellow dye in foods that are white in color like vanilla pudding or frosting? I have been making most of the things homemade that I can to avoid all things artificial but it is impossible to avoid it all together especially on holidays.
    I do notice a difference and this I like. I recently found a post about making your own stevia extract on Pinterest. I am going to try that for some of our sweet stuff and see how that works.
    Terre Neesham´s last blog post ..Old Navy Flip Flops $1 Sale on June 30th!

  2. I haven’t given up sugar, but it sounds like a good idea. I gave up diet soda a year ago, but have added it back into my life as a treat. I think you’re right teaching your children about what they put into their bodies at an early age. It’s eaiser to give something up if you haven’t been eating it for 50 years.

  3. Terre, I have the same questions you do about all of those darn dyes. I’m sure they definitely effect my daughter, as well. We have worked on limiting/eliminating them, but as you pointed out, they are in EVERYTHING… just like sugar! We also avoid artificial sweeteners… I would choose refined white sugar over those any day! Thanks for sharing :)

    - Amy

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